USC has fired coach Steve Sarkisian, the school announced Monday.
“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement.
“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation.
“Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being.”
On Sunday, Sarkisian was asked to take an indefinite leave of absence. Haden said Sunday it was “clear to me that he was not healthy.”
What emerged is a portrait of a man who favored Patron Silver tequila or Coors Light and frequented a handful of Seattle-area bars, typically accompanied by staff members, and didn’t hesitate to drink — early — while traveling.
During a stop at a rib joint in Nashville in January 2013, for example, Sarkisian and three assistants ordered four shots of Patron Silver, four shots of an unspecified liquor and five beers. The coach cashed out at 11:53 a.m.
I respect the late morning drinking, but tequila and Coors Light?
Earlier this week, Russia stepped up its military operations in Syria by launching a volley of land attack cruise missiles (LACMs) against Syrian opposition fighters. This type of attack, similar to a multitude of attacks by the United States, represents the culmination of several political and technological trends, and could herald a moment that many analysts have suggested is a long time in coming: the diffusion of precision LACMs across the international system.
Reports indicate that the Russian (apparently 3M-54 “Klub”) missiles were fired from two missile boats operating in the Caspian Sea, meaning that they needed to travel over a thousand miles of Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian territory before striking their targets. Launching the missiles from the Caspian may have allowed Russia to avoid problems with the INF Treaty, which restricts development of ground launched cruise missiles.
Therefore, given all this, if one of the parties goes as thoroughly, deeply, banana-sandwich loony as the present Republican Party has, the other party has a definitive obligation to the Republic to beat the crazy out of it so the country can get moving again. This is a duty in which the Democratic Party has failed utterly.
Republican extremism should have been the most fundamental campaign issue for every Democratic candidate for every elected office since about 1991. Every silly thing said by Michele Bachmann, say, or Louie Gohmert should have been hung around the neck of Republican politicians until they choked themselves denying it. (I once spoke to a Democratic candidate who was running against Bachmann who said to me, “Well, I’m not going to call her crazy.” She lost badly.) The mockery and ridicule should have been loud and relentless. It was the only way to break both the grip of the prion disease, and break through the solid bubble of disinformation, anti-facts, and utter bullshit that has sustained the Republican base over the past 25 years. Instead, and it’s hard to fault them entirely for their sense of responsibility, the Democrats chose largely to ignore the dance of the madmen at center stage and fulfill some sense of obligation to the country.
The audience for the “crazy” doesn’t think it’s crazy. Just by the nature of districting, a fair number of Republicans are in extremely safe seats, meaning that the left 40% of the electorate is essentially irrelevant to their calculations. They need to win 50% of what’s left, and given that primaries usually draw out only the most enthusiastic voters, they need to win 50% of the people who are really, really motivated by extremist rhetoric. Having Democrats call such comments and candidates out in the regular election probably improves their credibility with this base.
“Crazy” or not, most Republicans understand, like most Democrats, that getting 70% of what you want is better than getting 30% of what you want. Consequently, there’s a degree of entirely reasonable solidarity with the nutcases, especially given the expectation (common in the GOP) that the extremist situation will resolve itself as soon as the GOP controls the executive and both branches of Congress. And frankly, it’s not as if that much more in the way of “governing” goes on, even when the Dems control 2 of the 3 relevant veto points.
Calling Republicans “crazy” is intended to shame moderate-ish voters into the Democratic camp, but there’s little, if any, indication that this would be the effect. Equally (and probably more) likely is that declaring the entire GOP “crazy” would simply activate in-group solidarity; when you tell someone who voted for Michelle Bachmann in 2006 that she’s “crazy,” you don’t make that voter more amenable to your position.
It’s fine and well to mock the consultant class, and to suggest that they often get things wrong. It’s undoubtedly true that, out of self-interest, the consultant class often exaggerates the roles that campaigning, advertising, and messaging play in elections. It’s also true that consultants may tone down rhetoric that they expect to offend key constituents, including major donors. All that said, if consultants really thought that yelling “Crazy! Crazy! Crazy!” would win elections, then they’d have candidates do so much more often. Consultants like to win, and they especially like to win with rhetorical strategems that they could take credit for. If simply yelling that Republicans were crazy would work, then they’d be trying it. A lot.
Their is no “one weird trick for winning all of the elections.” Rhetorical tropes that reliably mobilize Democratic voters have no effect (or negative effect) on Republican voters, and vice versa. The causes of our current dilemma are multiple and complex; changes in the media landscape, the Southern shift of the GOP, the (related) development of the GOP as a white ethnic party, several rounds of idiosyncratic redistricting, etc. None of them have anything to do with the Democrats not wanting to win elections, or failing to identify the rhetorical silver bullet that will somehow drop the scales from their eyes.
The war between Germany and the Soviet Union officially began in late June 1941, although the threat of conflict had loomed since the early 1930s. Germany and the USSR launched a joint war against Poland in September of 1939, which the Soviets followed up with invasions of Finland, Romania, and the Baltic states across the following year.
After Germany crushed France, and determined that it could not easily drive Great Britain from the war, the Wehrmacht turned its attention back to the East. Following the conquests of Greece and Yugolavia in the spring of 1941, Berlin prepared its most ambitious campaign; the destruction of Soviet Russia. The ensuing war would result in a staggering loss of human life, and in the final destruction of the Nazi regime.
And if you think that a discussion of the Great Patriotic War would generate a fascinating comment thread, you’d be right.
“Raul Ibanez Mariners” by Flickr user Fall Line – . Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.
‘If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.’- Sun Tzu
Raul Ibanez hasn’t officially retired, but it looks like he’s done.
I remember once in the 2000 season, the founding members of LGM were watching at a Mariners game from the left field bleachers. For whatever reason, Lou Piniella had expressed an inordinate confidence in the abilities of Raul Ibanez, who seemed very much the prototypical 4A player. Piniella inserted Ibanez as a pinch hitter at what seemed to us an unreasonable point, producing a long, angry, and by recollection somewhat vulgar series of taunts by your hosts.
Ibanez immediately doubled off the left field wall. The people seated in our vicinity mocked us. It was neither the first, nor the last, time that we would legitimately be made the objects of fun.
From that point Raul (his intro song at Safeco was Werewolves of London) would move on to Kansas City, then back to the Mariners, and play at a remarkably consistent level, much higher than any of us had imagined possible. There is nothing stunning about his success; he amassed only a bit more than 20 WAR over his career, but that’s an honorable achievement for a major league ballplayer. Even in his late years he contributed some remarkable moments, including the 2012 playoff run with the Yankees.
Along the way Ibanez has earned a reputation for being a genuinely nice guy, both to the fans and to his fellow players. I hope he enjoys good luck with his managerial ambitions.
Reports earlier this week indicated that France had lined up a deal to sell the two amphibious assault ships to the Egyptian government. Rumors suggest that Gulf states, and in particular the United Arab Emirates, helped finance the deal. Assuming that the ships remain in Egypt and aren’t flipped to Russia (or another destination) in the next few years, the sale has a few implications for maritime affairs in East Asia.
Russian Su-25 “Frogfoot”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.
I have a couple of pieces at the National Interest looking at how Russia and ISIS may fight one another, if they get around to fighting.
With respect to the larger strategic significance of the Russian move into Syria, my thoughts generally accord with those of Josh Busby and Dan Nexon. Russia is weakening (economic dependence on a giant pool of hydrocarbons is rarely good for national power), and Putin’s “bold” initiatives of the last two years have primarily been about shoring up disastrous situations. Unfortunately, the foreign policy conversation in the United States remains infatuated with the idea that we can dictate terms to whomever we want, where ever we want, on whatever timetable we want. The foreign policy punditocracy behaves like antibodies to the idea that inaction (or even carefully considered action) might be the best policy.
HMS Vanguard, by CPOA(Phot) Tam McDonald. Licensed under OGL via Wikimedia Commons.
First things first, apologies for the recent comment section problems; I think it’s still technical fallout from some of the fixes we had done last week.
Some other stuff:
The Boehner debacle is generating quite a bit of good writing on the Right. This McMegan post on negotiations is a good corrective to an argument that’s commonly seen on the Left about the ACA, the idea that maximalist demands invariably result in a superior negotiated outcome. It’s more complex than this of course, because the process of negotiation and demand formation has inter- and intra-coalition effects, but for short-hand it’s enough to say that anyone who claims “You demand universal single payer on day one; that’s just Negotiation 101!” is probably a moron.
Bryan McGrath calls, in effect, for more inter-service conflict. In general I agree with his case; since the brutal inter-service fights of the 1950s, and McNamara’s efforts to encourage more such fights in the 1960s, the services have become far too cozy with one another. There are good and bad inter-service fights; conflicts over resources and national priorities tend toward the former, and conflicts over missions and joint contributions tend toward the latter.
The case for Trident replacement in the UK was terrible even before it became apparent that Scotland was hanging on by a thread. Now, as William Walker points out, replacing Trident (and stationing the boats in Scotland) is likely to further exacerbate tensions, with the likely result that England has several ultra-expensive submarines and no Scotland.
I’ll have a bit more on this later, but my first take on the Mistrals-to-Egypt deal is that it’s about more than just the prestige of the el-Sisi regime, or the need to invade Yemen. The fact that the Gulf monarchies are apparently coughing up a huge chunk of the dough is an indicator that they (correctly) see amphibious op capabilities in positive-sum terms.
Jason Isbell opens for the Avett Brothers this Thursday at Rupp! I’ve seen Isbell three times now ( plus half a dozen more with the Truckers), and there’s no question that the most recent (sober) tour was the best. That said, Something More than Free isn’t quite as strong as Southeastern, and I don’t know how the music from the last three albums is going to play at a venue like Rupp.